“Listen Zak, your numbers are plummeting. People just aren’t reading you anymore. You’ve got to try a new angle for your Summerfolk piece this year. Bring something EXCITING to the table.”
I sat in the opulent RRAMPT office, sweating uncomfortably on a black leather couch. I was dwarfed by a massive writing desk. Solid hardwood, ivory inlay. Hand turned legs that tapered into what appeared to be cloven hooves.
My editor loomed behind the walnut monstrosity, glowering at me from under thick brows, a deep frown evident beneath his tobacco stained moustache. He idly fingered a gold-plated cigar cutter.
I looked up to meet his stern gaze, leather creaking audibly, embarrassingly, under my shifting bulk.
“What, uhh … did you have in mind … sir?”
His nostrils flared massively, like a bull about to trample a hapless matador. Lips peeled back from yellowed teeth as his face split into an impossibly wide grin. SCHINK! The cigar cutter slammed shut with the finality of a guillotine. He growled his response through clenched teeth, grin never faltering, menace oozing from each syllable.
I fled the office, his demented laughter ringing down the halls, and scurried home to complete my piece on Summerfolk 44.
Several possible titles ran through my head:
“You’ll NEVER Hear Folk Music The Same Way After This One CRAZY Weekend!”
“Thousands Of Hippies Attend Festival. You Won’t BELIEVE What Happened Next!”
“Lose Belly Fat And Earn $$$$ While Sitting In A Lawn Chair On A Hillside”
But I knew I had a winner with:
6 Reasons You HAVE To Bring Your Kids To Summerfolk! (Number 5 Will SHOCK You!)
1. The Children’s Parade
This Summerfolk tradition is a heart warming, giggle inducing spectacle for kids and non-kids alike. A huge troupe of face painted, flag waving kiddos follow their drum playing stilt walking leaders around the grounds. Think the Pied Piper of Hamelin, but with more Brazilian drum beats, and less tragedy.
2. The Woodworker’s Corner
Festival life seem too frivolous? Fear not! Little Aiden and Olivia can now learn a valuable trade during the weekend. The Woodworker’s Corner is stocked with an assortment of kid friendly tools and materials to teach safe, basic woodworking. Artisans and their craftsmanship have always been a cornerstone of Summerfolk and this is a great way to include youngsters in the fun.
3. The Splash Pad/The Beach
There is only one better way to cool off on a hot weekend than the famous “Splash Pad” at Kelso Beach. And that is running into the waters of that very same beach. While the actual beach may be slim due to the high water levels this year, that just means access to immediate festival refreshment is easier than ever. Bonus: the park is closed to the public for the weekend, so you and the kids can feel like true 1% elite, splashing happily away, while non ticket holders sweat at home.
4. Jeremy Fisher Junior
Jeremy’s first album for kids is called “Highway to Spell”. Do I need to say anything more here? Not only is Jeremy a clever kid’s performer, unafraid to employ a dad joke or two, he’s also a Juno nominated songwriter and a seasoned touring musician. Old fogeys like me who grew up watching Trout Fishing or Dickie Bird perform in the kid’s tent will feel a nostalgic twinge while Jeremy Jr. has the kids in stitches.
5. The Snake Petting Zoo
This is not a joke. Scales Nature Park returns this year with their incredible reptile exhibit. Kids and courageous parents will get to see and even handle not just snakes, but all manner of creepers and crawlers. Having a chance to snap a pic of your kid looking like WWE superstar Jake “The Snake” Roberts is worth the price of admission alone. Look for scheduled presentations at 1pm on Saturday and Sunday.
6. Making Memories
Summerfolk is without doubt a special festival. I grew up attending annually and have so many fond memories to look back and smile on. Now I bring my own kids down yearly and can already see the festival making an impression on them too. This community of laughing, singing, dancing people is exactly the sort of place to create great lifelong friendships, habits, and memories. See you there!
Words and photos by Zak Erb